Twice, Indiana law enforcement officers detained the man accused of killing four University of Idaho students and let him go, and both times occurred on the same day, authorities said Tuesday.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger was held about two weeks before he was arrested in Pennsylvania.
On December 15, deputies pulled over Kohberger in Hancock County, Indiana, for “following too closely” Interstate 70, the sheriff’s office said in a statement Tuesday.
Kohberger was driving and had a passenger, who was not publicly identified, when the Hyundai Elantra was pulled over around 10:40 a.m., the agency said. He was released with a verbal warning.
“At the time of the traffic stop, no information was available on a suspect in the crimes in Idaho, to include identifying information or any specific information related to the condition of the license plate or number of the white Hyundai Elantra that was reported in the media have been seen in an environment where the crime occurred,” the statement said.
And nine minutes after sheriff’s deputies pulled him over, Indiana State Police stopped the vehicle, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Again, Kohberger, who had a passenger, was released with a warning for driving too closely, state police said.
The state agency said that when a police officer made the stop, there was no information available on a suspect in the Idaho murders and no information regarding the license plate number of the Hyundai.
“The trooper, after learning that the two had been pulled over minutes earlier by a Hancock County Sheriff’s Department officer who he knew was working near him on the interstate, used his discretion and released the two men with a verbal warning,” they say. the police said.
The Indiana stops came about a month after Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash.; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Ariz.; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho, were killed in a home near the University of Idaho campus.
Last week, some 2,500 miles away, Pennsylvania State Police arrested 28-year-old Kohberger in the deaths of the students.
He made a brief appearance Tuesday in a Monroe County court in Pennsylvania and waived extradition, clearing the way for him to face murder charges in Idaho.
Authorities said he will be charged with four counts of first-degree murder and robbery when he returns to Idaho.
Law enforcement officials have not released crucial information about the case and the arrest, including a possible motive, Kohberger’s relationships with the victims or the evidence that led police to track him down.
Michael Mancuso, the first assistant district attorney in Monroe County, said at a news conference after Kohberger’s court appearance Tuesday that authorities obtained three search warrants and the accompanying affidavits remain sealed.
One of the warrants was to collect DNA from Kohberger, another was for the Hyundai Elantra, and a third was for the home of Kohberger’s parents. Kohberger was arrested there without incident, authorities said.
Kohberger, a doctoral student in the department of criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University, 9 miles from Moscow, Idaho, was known to make “creepy” and inappropriate comments to female employees and customers at a Pennsylvania brewery, he said. the business owner.